Friday 4 September 2015

Westlock’s Water-Wise Words, When Water Wanes

I grumbled yesterday as I quickly rinsed my lathered-self off as the water pressure dropped. I know what this means, this means that I was almost out of water in my main tank. I protested, futilely, that I had not used that much water as I hastily rinsed myself off, despite the obvious being true. 

So there I was now with effectively no water in my main tank. This leaves me with a few challenges and causes me to switch to my economy water mode. I get so used to this that I almost don’t notice it. It’s just what I do. I realized this morning that perhaps I should let others know what I do to conserve water.

Now, I do have my five gallon jug that I use for drinking, cooking and washing dishes, so I am not completely out of water. 

Using this helps me not only helps me see how much water I am using but also ensures that when I run out of water in the main tank, I still have water to: drink, cook and wash dishes with. I also have a five gallon jug of water as a reserve amount, so even if I don’t go to fill up (as I probably will this afternoon) I will be fine all weekend.

The first challenge is flushing the toilet and washing your hands when no water is coming out of the main pipe. To solve this I pump some water into a spare pitcher. To flush the toilet I just pour, sparingly a bit of water down the toilet to “flush and clean it out.” 

If further cleaning is needed, I spray some household cleaner in the bowl and use a scrub brush. RV toilets do not flush as well (or waste as much water) as regular toilets, so cleaning them is occasionally needed after use (that’s life). 

To wash my hands, I hold the pitcher with one hand and pour it into the other hand which I cup. Then I put the pitcher down and pick up the soap with the still dry hand. Then I lather my hands up and once scrubbed I pour a bit of water over each hand, each hand taking turns, then dry off with a towel. 

An alternate method is to put a bit of water in the plugged sink and dip your hands into the small amount of water there. In the dead of winter, you have no plumbing and so, no sink. This means that you are doing this over a wash basin that you will empty out outside (find a thirsty tree or bush).

In the mornings I will boil a kettle of water, or more like three quarters of a kettle of water. I use one cup of this to make my oatmeal and leave the rest, still warm, in the kettle. Oatmeal is important for me because after forty fibre becomes reeeeeaaaaaal important (oh joy).

Once breakfast is done I go in for my shower. Since I have no water for the shower there are two methods to get clean without using much water. The first method can be used in situations like this, as I have plumbing, yet no water in my main tank. 

What you do is pour some of the hot water out of the kettle into a cup, a tumbler will do. Then pump some room temperature water out of the jug to mitigate the temperature. This way you have warm water, yet not cold or scalding.  Now go stand in the bathtub/shower. Pour some of the water from the cup over your head and over yourself.  Be sparing and spread the water around with your hands. Then lather yourself up, then pour what is left of the water in your cup over you to rinse off, you may have the added joy of mixing up another cup of warm water while still wet and partially soapy.

In winter, when you can’t do this method, then you have to go with the old “Bachelor’s bath” method. To do this you put a towel down in an open area, for me it is in that great room area. Stand on this, naked. Put the basin on a nearby surface you can lean over. For me it is on the underside of the flipped over table which is on my couch. 

Put your washcloth in the bottom of the wash basin, all spread out. Overtop of the centre of the washcloth you put a cup, (filled with warm water). Then lean your head over the washbasin and pour the warm water over your head so that the water goes back into the wash basin and dampens the washcloth. 

Now (since it is winter) lather up the washcloth with the soap and wash yourself while cursing about the cold and how the wet cloth amplifies this effect. Then dry off, if needed or desired, rinse out the washcloth and rinse yourself off with the now damp, yet not soapy washcloth.

To do your dishes, spread out a towel over a nearby hard surface, such as a table. Organize your dirty dishes on one side of it, Pic a bowl, frying pan, pot or other item which will hold water and put this in the bottom of the dry sink. Put a bit of soap in the bottom of that item and then pour in the water from the kettle. Using a scrub-brush scrub and wash your cutlery, put them aside in the sink itself and rinse them all at once, pouring water from the kettle over them.

Then continue to wash and scrub your dishes, leaving the item which holds the soapy water for last. Once rinsed, place each item on the towel spread out. Then dry and put them away. There, you have just done your dishes with about two cups of water. In winter use your wash basin and toss the water out outside (again, find a thirsty tree or bush).

There are always ways to conserve water, if you have to. Thankfully, most of you don’t have to do so. For those of you who do, I hope that you might find these little tricks handy.

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